Disclaimer: This page will contain spoilers for Naruto Shippuden
One of the most complex characters in the entire Naruto series, Itachi Uchiha was an extremely talented shinobi from Konohagakure who would go on to slaughter his entire clan, sparing only his younger brother Sasuke. He would then go on to join the villainous organization of rogue ninja known as the Akatsuki, whose crimes would brand him as an S-rank criminal. So much so, that Itachi’s actions saw Sasuke make his sole motivation in life to kill his older brother and avenge the deaths of his clan. However, things aren’t quite as simple as they would appear to be.
Paired with the shark-like Kisame, Itachi contributed to the Akatsuki’s overall goal of acquiring all of the tailed beasts for the purpose of the 'Eye of the Moon'. He is one of the most feared ninja in the world, with exceptional attributes in all major areas. However, Itachi is known for his Genjutsu prowess, borne from his Mangekyo Sharigan and its host of powerful abilities that make it a fatal mistake to even attempt to look him in the eyes. He is also capable of two other unique skills in the Amaterasu, pitch black flames that will never cease burning till their intended target is incinerated, and the mighty Susanoo, an impenetrable skeletal construct that renders him virtually invincible.
After a climatic final battle against his younger brother, where he revealed the secrets of the Sharingan, Itachi seemingly perishes. This would be far from the end of his impact on the world however, as he would be resurrected during the Fourth Shinobi World War due to Kabuto’s Impure World Resurrection spell. Distraught that his brother has followed his footsteps and joined up with the Akatsuki, he chases after him and together they confront Kabuto to neutralise the spell. He finally imparts the Sasuke the full truth of his actions, and says one final goodbye to his younger brother.
|Alias||Itachi of the Sharingan|
|First Appearance in Anime||Naruto Episode #80 The Third Hokage, Forever..|
|Voice Actors||Hideo Ishikawa, Yuka Terasaki, Skip Stellrecht, Crispin Freeman|
|Team||Team Ro (ANBU)|
|Village||Konohagakure-Village Hidden in the Leaves (Formerly)|
Itachi was born as the eldest son of Mikoto and Fugasu Uchiha. It was a turbulent time, as the Third Shinobi World War was raging on during most of his childhood. Itachi was also witness to the Nine Tailed Fox’s attack on Konohagakure, which had traumatised him. So much so, that it pushed him into becoming a shinobi in order to put an end to all of the fighting and protect his family, including his recently born baby brother Sasuke. He was an extraordinarily talented prospect, graduating from the academy early at the age of 6 as a genin. He would eventually go on to become the youngest ANBU member on record at the age of only 11.
However, trouble would brew under the horizon. The Uchiha, blamed for the Nine Tails attack on the Hidden Leaf and long persecuted and judged by others of the village, would seek to rise up against their oppressors and plotted a coup d’etat against the village. Itachi could not abide by this as he refused to see another war start on his watch, and offered his services to spy on his own clansmen as a double agent, alongside his best friend Shisui. The burden of betraying their own clan was great although an even greater betrayal would be Danzo’s betraying Shisui and stealing one of his eyes in the process. In his final act before killing himself, Shisui gave Itachi his other eye.
Now alone in his mission, and drawing the suspicion of the Uchiha with Shisui’s unexpected death, Itachi’s options were growing increasingly limited. After being promoted to ANBU captain at age 12, Itachi confronted his father, who had read the stone tablet that had prophesied the future, and had convinced him that the coup d’etat was the only resort left.
Reporting back to the Third Hokage and Danzo, it had become apparent that a peaceful resolution had become virtually impossible. With it, two options were left before Itachi, participate in his family’s coup and see the Uchiha exterminated entirely, or preemptively slaughter the Uchiha, and be allowed to let his little brother live. Stuck between these sadistic choices, Itachi choses the latter and wiped out the Uchiha clan, with the help of a masked stranger.
Wracked with guilt from these actions, Itachi begins to lay the groundwork for his own punishment. He purposefully lets his little brother Sasuke walk in and witness the carnage, and also torments him, using his Tsukuyomi, with the painful visions of the slaughtering.
Sasuke would flee in terror, only for Itachi to track him down and tell him the final lie that would set him on the path of vengeance against his older brother. Sasuke would awaken to his own Sharingan which surprised even Itachi, but would pass out under the stress. Wracked with guilt and grief and his gruesome task finished, Itachi reported back to the Third Hokage and Danzo, and threatened to leak the secrets of the Hidden Leaf if the latter dared to touch Sasuke. He would then leave the Hidden Leaf for good, and would eventually end up cloaked in the red and black clouds of the Akatsuki….
Even among the Uchiha, Itachi’s talents were exceptional as he was capable of performing jutsu he had never even practised before, just by witnessing it only once. He is the youngest to ever reach of ANBU captain at the ripe age of 12. He only peer among the Uchiha clan was his close friend Shisui and even Orochimaru, one of the legendary Sannin, proclaimed Itachi as his superior.
Itachi is versatile as he is a capable shinobi in all major forms of combat. As a member of ANBU, he was especially skilled with swords and an expert at handling ninja tools such as shuriken and kunai. As with most Uchiha, he was capable of fire release ninjutsu at a very young age, as well as water and wind.
His noted speciality however, and fitting with his natural pacifistic nature, was his genjutsu. Even without using his eyes he is a masterful user of illusions, and with the usage of his Tsukuyomi, can mentally break his foes without even lifting a finger.
Itachi’s most defining special ability is his Mangekyo Sharingan and its three central abilities. The Amaterasu is an extraordinarily powerful offensive weapon that is almost impossible to avoid and will burn everything in its wake until its target is reduced to ashes. The Tsukuyomi is a genjutsu that can shatter its victims mentally and end a fight before it even starts if they are not capable of breaking the illusion.
For his final trump card, the might Susanoo can act as both a perfect defense shielding him from almost all harm, as well as function as an offensive force as well. The main weakness that limits Itachi and these abilities, however, is his hampered stamina due to his terminal illness. Repeated usage can exhaust him quickly, and more than that could lead to his death.
“There is no value in killing the likes of you… My foolish brother… If you want to kill me… curse me! Hate me! And live a long and unsightly life… Run away… run away… and cling to your pitiful life. And then some day, when you have the same eyes as I do, come before me."
"Those who kill their own comrades are sure to die a terrible death."
"We don't know what kind of people we truly are until the moment before our deaths. As death comes to embrace you, you will realise what you are. That's what death is, don't you think?
"You don't become the Hokage to be acknowledged by everyone. The one who is acknowledged by everyone becomes the Hokage."
"If I had been open with you from the start… and looked you straight in the eyes and told you the truth, then I wouldn't have had to stand before you, from above, as a failure, telling you all of this. So this time, I want to impart this truth to you… You don't ever have to forgive me. And no matter what you do from here on out, know this… I will love you always."
Itachi is a master of psychological warfare, especially in that thanks to the power of the Mangekyo Sharingan, it is very much literal thanks to his incredible prowess in Genjutsu. This is displayed prominently in both his initial bout with the Hidden Leaf Jounin, as well as his final showdown with his brother Sasuke.
A. While publicly, Itachi was branded a traitor to the Hidden Leaf, he is secretly working with the village to keep tabs on the Akatsuki and to keep them from attacking Konohagakure.
A. It can typically be seen as a sign of tremendous stress that someone can develop depressions along their tear ducts.
A. It is his own method of affection he shows to his little brother. It is also why it is meaningful in his final appearance he stops doing this, to signify his brother growing up.